The Kiwanis Club of Cleveland recently honored the 2012-13 recipient of the Kiwanian of the Year award.
Kiwanian of the Year is giving to the member who embodies outstanding service to the community and to the club.
Immediate past-president Chris Newton had the privilege of presenting the award.
“He is the main ramrod, as I like to say, over at the United Way,” Newton said as he built up to the big reveal. “He is one of our own, and someone I am glad to call my friend, the distinguished, the illustrious, Mr. Matt Ryerson.”
“This is a really big deal for me guys,” Ryerson began. “Kiwanis has meant a lot to me over the last few years.”
He explained it was fellow Kiwanis member Dr. Rodney Fitzgerald who first encouraged him to attend a club meeting.
Ryerson was hooked by the opportunity to cause effective change in the community while serving alongside legendary leaders.
According to the appreciative recipient, he was inspired by the way members are willing to get their hands dirty to serve the community.
He described the members’ mentality of helping out their fellow man as absolutely inspirational.
A similar sentiment was shared when he addressed his wife, who was present as a guest.
“She has absolutely saved me, and I mean that in the most literal sense,” Ryerson shared. “She has been my angel and my driving force. She has just had an incredible impact. She is the best wife in the world and an incredible mother. She just does an amazing job.”
Ryerson shared one final thought based on his favorite scripture, Phillipians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things through [God] who gives me strength.”
“This club has been that for me. I think so often we expect God to miraculously, by a lightning bolt, to lay his hands on us and in reality, I think, God sends people into our lives to guide us and impact us and mentor us and direct us,” Ryerson said. “For me, that is what this club has been. It has been an absolute pillar in my life.”
Following the presentation, Kiwanis President Bruce Bradford discussd recent changes and what he hopes the club accomplishes going into the next year.
Bradford encouraged the club to bring new members into the fold.
“Why would anyone want to join Kiwanis? You can get together and have lunch with friends anywhere. I am a firm believer in the way you grow is to make it worth coming to,” Bradford said. “I want to respect your time you invest here by using it well.”
He said he wants to give people a reason for joining Kiwanis.
“Remember, kids starts with ‘k-i’ and so does Kiwanis,” Bradford said. “Kiwanis is about [serving] kids, so if you love children then come here.”
Current club officers include Bruce Bradford, president; Traci Hamilton, president-elect; Clay Reis, vice president; Chris Newton, immediate past president; Sheryl Domeck, secretary; and Kathy Austin, treasurer.